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Vehicles, as their name suggests, provide a means for the survivor to move around much faster than on foot and if equipped with a trunk or box; allow the survivor to store his or her belongings in them.

Unfortunately due to the loud noises their engines make, they can quickly turn into a death-trap should you cruise through a town because of the huge amount of zombies their loudness attracts. Due to acid rain and perhaps the neglect of their previous owners, most of the vehicles found in the streets are either damaged or broken, and this fact can quickly lead to the demise to the unlucky-enough driver of the car should his or her car break down in the middle of a horde.

Common Locations

Automobiles and other kinds of vehicles can be found in many places. Towns are filled with vehicles of all kinds blocking the streets, usually wrecked. Garages can spawn vehicles of various kinds, sometimes just chassis, but often drivable ones. Farms have a good chance of housing a flatbed truck in decent condition. Roads and highways contain large numbers of cars and trucks, and there's always wrecked cars next to gas stations. Sewage treatment plants and malls usually have some vehicles in the parking area.

While the majority of vehicles you'll find won't be of too much use other than for spare parts, make a habit of checking all the ones you find, as there's always a few that you can drive.

The first thing you want to check when finding a new vehicle is the amount of gasoline or batteries left (unless it's a bicycle) and if it has enough wheels to move around. In addition, you should check that the vehicle's controls, engine, and a seat are in working condition (any color other than gray). That information is displayed when examining the vehicle. With enough fuel and wheels you can start driving that vehicle as soon as you find it, so you can move it to a safer place to be able to enhance it, repair it, refill it, etc without the threat of zombies and other beasts.

Default Vehicles

This is a list of vehicles that you can find in the aforementioned locations:

Bicycle Motorcycle Quad Bike
Car Flatbed Truck Semi Truck


Truck Trailer Wagon Beetle




Bubble Car Golf Cart Scooter
Military Cargo Truck Schoolbus RV
Shopping Cart

You can also find incomplete versions of some of those vehicles inside garages. In that case they'll be displayed as "<name of vehicle> Chassis".


Refilling a vehicle

All vehicles except bicycles (or custom vehicles with foot pedals) need some sort of combustible or power source in order to move. You can check how filled its gasoline tank or batteries are by looking at the fuel indicator. It's displayed as "E../F", where the slash indicates how Empty or Full the gas tank or batteries are (close to E, empty, close to F, full). While mounted you can check it on the lower right corner of the screen. While dismounted you have to examine the vehicle to check it.

Gasoline engines

Gasoline can be found in gas stations and some mines and can be used to fill the gas tank of your vehicle in two ways:

A) examine a gasoline pump. When prompted say Yes to start pumping and then No when asked if you want to pour it on the ground, then choose any empty container in your possession that is able to hold liquids. You can use anything for this purpose, from a plastic bottle (that only holds 400 units) to a steel jerrycan (which can hold up to 20000 units of gasoline).

Once you have a recipient filled with gasoline examine your vehicle and search for its gasoline tank. You can find the tank by moving around the vehicle parts by using the cursor keys. Finally Refill it.

B) Move your vehicle next to the gas pump and examine it. When asked if you want to fill your vehicle say Yes, and then press the direction where your vehicle is. Now you can either say Yes to automatically refill the vehicle until its gas tank is full or say No and only fill it a bit. Whatever you decide depends on the situation, as filling a tank from empty to full can take a long time.

Diesel engines

... Add your information here! ...

Diesel engines are usually found in heavier vehicles such as semi trucks and military vehicles.

The player can get diesel from diesel pumps found in gas stations or from crafting diesel by learning the recipe from the book Biodiesel: Renewable Fuel Resource.

Seems to work like a normal gas pump. Only difference is you need to park your car next to it.

Electric engines

Require batteries and/or solar panels installed. Much quieter. Sound not affected by muffler.

You can refill car batteries by having normal batteries in your inventory and using the vehicle menu and refill it, however you won't be able to reclaim the batteries later. Car power is generally much easier to acquire in bulk than batteries.

A 'storage battery' can be mounted in a 'storage battery case', these batteries you can switch out with minimal mechanics skill and no tools.

Battery storage volume

Different storage batteries have different volumes. All can be refilled by either having a running engine with an alternator, solar panels, or by using a battery from inventory to refill the vehicle battery.

Sortable table
Kind Storage Capacity Weight Capacity/Weight
Truck battery 50,000 44.1lbs 1,133.7
Car battery 30,000 28.9lbs 1,038.1
Motorbike battery 12,000 13.8lbs 869.6
Small storage battery 2,500 0.71lbs 3,521.1
Medium storage battery 20,000 5.71lbs 3,502.6
Storage battery 100,000 50.0lbs 2,000.0

Water Tanks

You are required to fill your water tank with clean water. The easiest way to do this is to fill a steel or plastic jerrycan with water and use a water purifier, it will clean the whole thing provided it has enough charge.

Draining and Siphoning

You can drain any existing fuel, but not batteries, from any vehicle, provided that you have a rubber hose and some kind of liquid container. If you have those items just approach a vehicle, examine it and then siphon it. Once that is done, you'll be asked to pick a container for the gasoline. This same procedure can be used to drain water from the water tank of a vehicle, if present.

If the water tank has a water faucet installed, you don't need the hose to drain it and can use the water directly for crafting, drinking and filling containers.

Grabbing and dragging vehicles

You are able to drag any vehicle behind you as long as you're strong enough to move it. To do so, position yourself besides the vehicle, press G and select the direction the vehicle is. To release it, press G again.

So far, only 1 tile carts can be dragged around without problems. Vehicles will break free from your grip when they change orientation (from/to diagonal) and the tile you were holding changes its position relative to you. They will also interrupt dragging when any of their tiles gets under you. This makes dragging bikes in anything but straight line rather tedious. Heavier vehicles (regular cars) are generally not draggable at all due to their weight - 35 strength isn't enough to move a regular "Car"-model car.


Some cars still have working security system. Attempting to start such a car will have a chance to result in activating the alarm, activating the engine or both. Attempting to stop the alarm can damage the controls. Chances of success increase with mechanics skill.

Active alarm will make lots of noise and drain batteries.

Remote control

Vehicles equipped with drive by wire controls can be controlled using remote vehicle controller. This can be utilized to make a ram, a mobile turret or just a distraction.

Vehicles equipped with regular controls can still have functions activated at range, just can't be driven. For example, you can use the controller to cause a nearby car alarm to go off to distract the horde.

Cars that need to be hotwired will also require to be hacked to be remotely controlled.

Jumper cables

Jumper cables can be used to connect any number of immobile vehicles into a network that shares energy. Whenever any vehicle in the network creates or consumes power, it will first try to charge/discharge own batteries and then charge/discharge nearest batteries in the network.

Each cable along the way adds some power loss to this transfer.

When a vehicle moves, all jumper cables connected to it immediately disconnect.

Turrets and guns

Turrets, when activated will fire at targets automatically. To manually fire a gun, stand on the location of the gun/turret, have your hands free and fire. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Reloading turrets

Turrets will disable themselves automatically when they run out of ammunition. To reload them, you must Drop the corresponding ammo over them (as if you were "feeding" them). The turret location does not need a separate ammo space. If you cannot put the ammo in, the gun does not accept that type of ammo.

Currently, the ammo counter of a given turret will always display 1, regardless of the amount of ammo you've deposited on it.

In The experimental version you can no longer reload turrets by dropping ammo. You need to either stand on the turret and use reload, or examine the turret and select reload. Turrets do not yet accept magazines or belts, and must be reloaded one bullet at a time. But that is subject to change.

Using Vehicle Storage

Stand next to the tile with Vehicle Storage and Drop items into it. You can use the examine key to look inside vehicle storage. Storage in a vehicle is per tile, not per vehicle. An empty tile does not show up as having storage.

You can store items in any seat, bed, box or trunk present in the vehicle. From all those, trunks and boxes are the ones which only purpose is to store cargo. While you can use the driver's seat for storage you won't be able to sit properly to drive your vehicle if it's too packed.

Once the part used for storage has reached its maximum capacity any further items you place there will be dropped on the ground (you'll be warned about it). To recover those objects you have use the examine key, and select 'Get items on the ground'. Remember that if you don't pick those objects up again they'll be left lying there once you drive away.

Storage volume

Cargo spaces have different allowed volumes, here is a list:

Sortable table
Part Volume
Cargo Space / Cargo Carrier 1000
Trunk 650
Chemlab / Kitchen Buddy / RV Kitchen Unit / Welding Rig 400
Floor Trunk 350
Minifridge 300
Box 275
Stow Board 250
Shopping Cart Basket / Bed 200
Seat 100
Wire Basket 60
Table 15

Floor Trunks and Cargo Spaces have the added benefit of not slowing you down as you pass over them, while the minifridge--if powered--keeps food fresh longer and makes several drinks taste better. Stow boards block LOS/Movement while also acting as storage space.

Smoke and noise

Active engine of any kind produces noise. An active gasoline or diesel engine also produces smoke.

Both noise and smoke are (not always directly) proportional to output of the engine. In case of multiple engines, load (power produced to power utilized) on each engine is equal. Smoke produced is a sum of smoke from all smoking (gas/diesel) engines. Noise level isn't summed - only the loudest engine counts.

Gas, diesel and plasma engines benefit from a muffler, which reduces the noise and smoke from those engines to 60%. Mufflers don't use any extra power. If a muffler exists, all smoke will be spewed from it rather than from engines producing it. Only the best muffler (the least damaged one) will be used.

Noise levels can depend on both current power (c) and maximum power (m):

Sortable table
Kind Noise
Gas/diesel 15*c + 3*m + 5
Plasma 9*c + 1
Muscle 5*c
Electric 3*c

Numbers (c and m) in the equations above are relative and actually translating them from/to user readable variables is not that simple. Exact values are: m = power_to_epower(part_power(p, true)) / 40000.0, c = m * load.

Additionally all driven vehicles have a low cap on noise of velocity_in_mph/5 or in metric velocity_in_kmh/11.2, which translates (roughly) to tiles_per_turn*1.8.

To put the numbers above into a perspective:

  • A medium-sized electric engine thrusting at full power produces 1 noise, large one 9 noise
  • A vehicle moving 3 tiles per turn produces 5 or 6 noise (unless its engines produce more)
  • An idling 15 liter gas engine with a muffler produces 20 noise
  • A fully utilized foot crank produces 2 noise

Vehicles and the environment

Currently there is no air-conditioning/heater system inside cars. Cars automatically protect you from the environment. If you are inside a car with sides, and a roof, you get some heat/cold protection, and some rain protection. No need to turn on any air conditioning. If parts of the car are damaged they will work less well as insulation and will let some of the outside through. So damaged roofs will get you wet, etc.

Vehicle processing metagame

All vehicles in submaps loaded into memory are processed. This means that their fuel is consumed (if engines are on), solars charge batteries (if the car is above ground and in sunlight), parts consume power, alternators connected to active engines charge batteries etc. Vehicles outside those submaps are effectively frozen in time. Vehicles on loaded submaps but outside the reality bubble will not move, though they are still processed.

A submap is loaded when it gets into reality bubble. It is unloaded when the game is saved (note: includes quicksaves and autosaves!).

Vehicles connected with jumper cables are an exception - one such vehicle in reality bubble will cause all others to load.

When trying to maximize solar power output, sleep near your car, on the same z-level and/or with autosave disabled.

(Fixed in the experimentals - vehicle solar panels now function regardless of player distance/z-level)

Damage effects

When a part is damaged it works less efficiently. As you would expect. Damaged engines don't always start, damaged batteries and fuel/water tanks leak. Alternators and solar panels are less efficient. So repair that damage!

External Links